Notre Dame Profs Flood the other Watchlist

In solidarity with two Notre Dame faculty named to the scurrilous watchlist (which will not be linked to here), the Washington Post reports, more than 100 Notre Dame professors have asked to be added to that list:

Here’s a twist regarding a controversial new website called “Professor Watchlist,” which has the names of some 200 academics deemed by a conservative group to be advancing “leftist propaganda” in classrooms and discriminating against conservative students.

While most teachers at any level education would generally prefer to remain off politically motivated lists,  more than 100 faculty members at the University of Notre Dame say they want their names added to Professor Watchlist, a project of the nonprofit organization Turning Point USA. The group’s website says it is a national movement that seeks to “educate students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets.” Critics call it an assault on academic freedom.

The signatories of the letter wrote that those on the list are actually “the sort of company we wish to keep.” They are also the company that this Watchlist Redux wants to keep. So in solidarity with the Notre Dame faculty, the two targeted faculty are honored here. They are Gary Gutting and Iris Outlaw.

A philosopher with broad interests in continental as well as analytic philosophy, Gutting has done much good for the profession, serving as an editor of the well-regarded Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews and having written a series of articles for the New York Times opinionator blog. In one of those New York Times pieces, he noted just what a teacher should aspire to do:

Teachers need to see themselves as, first of all, intellectuals, dedicated to understanding poetry, history, human psychology, physics, biology — or whatever is the focus of their discipline.  But they also need to realize that this dedication expresses not just their idiosyncratic interest in certain questions but a conviction that those questions have general human significance, even apart from immediately practical applications.

Iris Outlaw runs the multicultural student program at Notre Dame. The scurrilous watchlist was offended that she talked about white privilege. Apparently the young man running that site never noticed that he had any. (Funny how that happens.) In any case, it is hard to see anything but wonderful work that Outlaw is doing, helping students of various backgrounds succeed in college. What audacity she has. Yes — and brava!

Gutting and Outlaw are now on this list! Hats off to them and to Notre Dame.

ARISTOTLE, Macedonia, Greece (384–322 BCE)

Born in Macedonia, Aristotle immigrated to Athens to study philosophy and ended up questioning the authority of his teacher, Plato. In Athens he lived without citizenship and was subjected to anti-Macedonian sentiment. After Alexander’s death, Demophilus and Eurymedon accused Aristotle of impiety, and he fled North to his mother’s place of birth because he didn’t want Athens to put another philosopher to death.

BERTRAND RUSSELL, United Kingdom (1872-1970)

Logician and social critic. A founder of analytic philosophy and a communist sympathizer, religious skeptic, advocate for women’s suffrage, free love/known philanderer, sex education, contraceptive access, easy divorce, married four times, homosexual law reform, racial equality (eventually), inter-racial marriage, and nuclear disarmament. Winner of Nobel Prize for literature in 1950. Threatened national security by protesting UK involvement in nuclear arms race.

HANNAH ARENDT, Germany, France, and the United States (1906–1975)

Hannah Arendt was a political philosopher, a student of Heidegger’s who came to question his anti-semitism, a refugee from Nazi Germany who taught and wrote that there are no foundations or everlasting truths to ground our political practices. She dared to name “the banality of evil,” the way evil emerges when people just do their jobs and don’t think about whether their jobs should be done at all.